PA girls looking for second-straight Soccer Showcase win

Bob Parana - Staff Writer

The NY/PA Soccer Showcase will be held at Bradner Stadium in Olean, New York Sunday, Aug. 2. The contest pits the top girls and boys soccer players from New York against their Pennsylvania counterparts. The PA girls won last year’s game held at the University of Pitt-Bradford 1-0. NY won the first contest in 2018, 4-1. The girls will kick off at 7 p.m. and the boys at 4 p.m.

2020 Elk County Catholic graduate Olivia Sorg is making a third-straight appearance as are St. Marys graduates Lauren Eckert, Kaylee Muccio, and Britney Shaw, and Kayla Johnson who will be entering her senior year. Victoria Hallberg a 2020 Kane High graduate will be playing in her second straight game. Bradford’s Warren Shaw will coach the team. His staff includes Samantha Zimmerman of the Lady Dutch, Bradford assistants Jim Warnick and A.J. Lucas, David Britten of Brockway, and Jeremy Bickling of Warren.

The clash for the Corporate Cup was originally scheduled for May 17 at the University of Pitt-Bradford but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Organizers Kris Linderman and Dave Talbot decided to keep hopes alive and patience paid off when it was confirmed they could play the game in Olean.

“We always tell these kids to never give up. We always say play until the end of the game and never stop until the game is over. I kind of think it’s kind of the same idea for us. We knew the window of opportunity was still there. We knew things were getting better. We were hopeful but at the same time, we knew it might not happen. July 6 came along and soccer was declared a moderate risk sport and things fell into place at that point,” Linderman said when he made the official announcement of the Aug. 2 date.

All necessary COVID health and safety measures will be taken. Each participant is allowed to bring two guests. Among other precautions are face-covering/masks required when closer than six feet to any person and physical distancing will apply for everyone not including the players.

“It’s great to be playing. Getting out there and having fun and letting the kids play is something they needed,” said Shaw. The PA girl's head coach couldn’t say enough about the efforts of Linderman and Talbot at Sunday’s practice in Kersey. “They’re like a dog with a bone,” he said with a chuckle. “We’re all grateful for them. Not everybody would put as much into this as they do. I can’t say enough about them,” he added.

Shaw was an assistant to Ridgway’s Greg Maddalina last year. “It’s fun being a part of this. It’s an honor to be named a coach or a player. It’s something that not everybody gets to do so I think it’s great. I love it,” he said.

Players were encouraged to work out before the game was given the green light and there have been limited practices. Shaw says we’ll see how sharp players will be once the game's kickoff. “We’ll see on Sunday where both teams are shape-wise after having so much time off. I think the biggest part for me is to just let them go and have fun and when they need a break we’ll give them a break,” he said.

Shaw, who played soccer at the University of Pitt-Bradford, sees his group coming together. “As you can see today (at practice) they’re having fun. They all kind of knew each other a little bit [coming in]. They’re meshing well and they’re all good soccer players so that’s good,” he said.

The Bradford coach who will be entering his third season at the helm of the Lady Owls is taking a fresh approach heading into the game. “There’s no given on these teams. Whoever comes out and shows what they can do is going to get more playing time. I don’t know some of the girls personally so it’s all about coming out and earning your time,” he said.

As for the COVID precautions Shaw sees no problem. “Whatever they tell me I have to do to make sure these girls can play is what I’m going to do.” He has his pregame speech ready. “I’m going to tell them to enjoy it because you never know when you’ll be able to play again. I think that’s how everybody is going to approach things with all that has happened.”

The boys first played the Showcase in 2017 and have won the previous three games including 4-2 last year. Clay Zilkofski a 2020 Johnsonburg graduate was selected for the PA boys despite Ridgway (co-op with J-Burg) not fielding a team in 2019. Kane graduate Mason Feikles, and Vanicius Nunes who will be entering his senior year at St. Marys will be making a second-straight appearance. Elk County Catholic Head coach TJ Weaver will guide the Keystone State. He will be joined by ECC assistant Alex O’Neil, Jack Darling of Warren, Aaron Clark of Port Allegany-Smethport, Phil Esposito of Brockway, and Warren’s Denny Flatt. More on the boys will appear in Friday’s edition.

You can stay up-to-date on the games and events at Facebook page – Mazza-the-Corporate Cup which will also be live streaming the games.

2020 Corporate Cup Soccer Showcase PA Girls Roster

Elk County Catholic – Olivia Sorg; St. Marys – Kyla Johnson, Lauren Eckert, Britney Shaw, Kaylee Muccio; Kane – Victoria Hallberg Bradford – Regan Johnson, Madalen Cowburn, Abbie Nuzzo, Chloe Shaw, Mackenzie Lucas, Emily Prince, Lauren Placer, Marissa Miller, Taylor Komidar Brockway – Chanell Brittten, Warren – Madaline Fadale, Kyleigh Wilson, Georgie Bickling; DuBois – Stafanie Hoyt, Rylee Wadding, Mariah Allen; Curwensville – Chloe Davis; Coudersport – Rosalyn Page.